New Userscript Restores Tabs to the WordPress Plugin Directory

One of the most common complaints about the WordPress plugin directory’s redesign is the use of read more links instead of tabs. Plugin authors and users contend that tabs make information more accessible. The redesign requires visitors to scroll a one-page design and click on various read more links to discover more information.

There is a ticket on Trac that suggests a jump section be included so that visitors can jump to specific sections of a plugin’s readme file. It’s unclear if this feature will be added but if you’d like to restore the tabbed layout to the plugin directory, check out this Userscript created by Nicolas Jonas.

According to OpenUserJS, userscripts are open source add-ons for browsers that can modify webpages as they’re loaded. Using userscripts is roughly the same as installing WordPress plugins to restore lost functionality. Jonas’ userscript source code contains a mix of CSS and jQuery to generate the tabs.

To install the WordPress.org Plugin Directory Tabs userscript in Firefox, you’ll first need to install the free Greasemonkey extension. Greasemonkey is a Mozilla Add-on for Firefox that allows userscripts to run in the browser.

Greasemonkey Add-on
Greasemonkey Firefox Add-on

Jonas developed the userscript in about 30 minutes and used CSS from a CSS button generator. The tabs have a blue background with white text on top. Jonas is open to suggestions and encourages those who want better designed buttons to create an issue with the proper CSS code on his OpenUserJS page.

Tabbed Layout
Tabbed Layout

I tested the userscript on Firefox 52.0.2 and didn’t encounter any issues. After navigating the plugin directory with tabs, I can easily say I prefer it versus clicking read more links. I rarely have to scroll and the information I want to see is displayed front and center. Simply put, browsing a plugin’s page with tabs is a better user experience.

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